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THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS

The Living Daylights (1987) is the fifteenth entry in the James Bond film series and the first to star Timothy Dalton as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film's title is taken from Ian Fleming's short story, "The Living Daylights". It was the last film to use the title of an Ian Fleming story until the 2006 instalment Casino Royale. Originally the film was proposed to be a prequel in the series, an idea that eventually resurfaced with the reboot of the series in 2006.

The beginning of the film resembles the short story, in which Bond acts as a counter-sniper to protect a Soviet defector, Georgi Koskov. He tells Bond that General Pushkin, head of the KGB, is systematically killing British and American agents. When Koskov is seemingly snatched back, Bond follows him across Europe, Morocco and Afghanistan.

The collection of short stories including, Octopussy and The Living Daylights (sometimes just published as Octopussy) would be the fourteenth and final James Bond book written by Ian Fleming and was published posthumously in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape on June 23 1966. The book originally contained just two stories, "Octopussy" and "The Living Daylights", with subsequent editions also carrying firstly "The Property of a Lady" and then "007 in New York". The stories were first published in different publications, with "Octopussy" first serialised in the Daily Express in October 1965. "The Living Daylights" had first appeared in The Sunday Times in February 1962; "The Property of a Lady" was published in November 1963 in a Sotheby's publication, The Ivory Hammer, whilst "007 in New York" first appeared in the New York Herald Tribune in October 1963. Both "Octopussy" and "The Living Daylights", were both adapted for publication in comic strip format in the Daily Express in 1966–1967. The Living Daylights film was produced by Albert R. Broccoli, his stepson Michael G. Wilson, and his daughter Barbara Broccoli. The Living Daylights was generally well received by most critics and was also a financial success, grossing $191.2 million worldwide.

In Autumn 1985, following the financial and critical disappointment of A View to a Kill, work began on scripts for the next Bond film, with the intention that Roger Moore would not reprise the role of James Bond. Moore, who by the time of the release of The Living Daylights would have been 59 years old, claims he chose to retire from the role after 12 years and 7 films. Albert Broccoli, however, claimed that he let Moore go from the role. A significant search for a new actor to play Bond saw a number of actors, including Sam Neill (pictured right in his 007 screen test), Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton audition for the role in 1986. Bond co-producer Michael G. Wilson, director John Glen, Dana and Barbara Broccoli "were impressed with Sam Neill and very much wanted to use him." However, Albert Broccoli was not sold on the actor. In the UK Neill won early fame, and was Golden-Globe nominated, after portraying real-life spy Sidney Reilly in mini-series Reilly, Ace of Spies (1983). Reilly, a Russian Jew, became one of the greatest spies ever to work for the British. Among his exploits, in the early 20th century, were the infiltration of the German General Staff in 1917 and a near-overthrow of the Bolsheviks in 1918. His reputation with women was as legendary as his genius for espionage. Many historians consider Reilly to be the first 20th-century super-spy and Ian Fleming used Reilly as as one of his inspirations for James Bond. Neill would go on to play Dr. Alan Grant in the blockbuster Jurassic Park.

The producers eventually offered the role to Brosnan after a three-day screen-test. At the time, he was contracted to the television show Remington Steele which had been cancelled by the NBC network due to falling ratings. The announcement that he would be chosen to play James Bond caused a surge in interest in the series, which led to NBC exercising (on the very last day) a 60-day option in Brosnan's contract to make a further season of the show. NBC's action caused drastic repercussions, as a result of which Albert Broccoli withdrew the offer given to Brosnan, citing that he did not want the character associated with a contemporary TV series. This led to a drop in interest in Remington Steele, and NBC did not slot a full twenty-two episode season into their schedule. The final abbreviated season consisted of six hours of made-for-TV films broadcast in early 1987, before the show was finally cancelled. The edict from Broccoli was that "Remington Steele will not be James Bond." The Remington Steele cancellation and reversal not only impacted Brosnan's chance to play Bond but effected his co-star in the series as well. Stephanie Zimbalist had accepted the role of Officer Anne Lewis in the science-fiction movie RoboCop and was forced to pull out of that production, to be replaced by Nancy Allen. Stephanie Zimbalist's father is actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr, well known for his starring roles in the television series 77 Sunset Strip and The F.B.I. In the 1990's he was the voice behind the character Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: The Animated Series and its numerous spin-offs. In 1995 Brosnan would get a second chance to play 007 in GoldenEye.

Dana Broccoli suggested Timothy Dalton. Albert Broccoli was initially reluctant given Dalton's public lack of interest in the role, but at his wife's urging agreed to meet the actor. However Dalton would soon begin filming Brenda Starr and so would be unavailable. In the intervening period, having completed Brenda Starr, Dalton was offered the role once again, which he accepted. For a period, the filmmakers had Dalton, but he had not signed a contract. A casting director persuaded Robert Bathurst, an actor who would become known for his roles in Joking Apart and Cold Feet, to audition for Bond. Bathurst believes that his "ludicrous audition" was only "an arm-twisting exercise" because the producers wanted to persuade Dalton to take the role by telling him they were still auditioning other actors. Other actors considered for the role of James Bond included; Mel Gibson, Mark Greenstreet, Lambert Wilson, Antony Hamilton, Christopher Lambert, Findlay Light, and Andrew Clarke.

Maryam d'Abo, a former model, was cast as the Czechoslovakian cellist Kara Milovy. In 1984, d'Abo had attended auditions for the role of Pola Ivanova in A View To a Kill. Barbara Broccoli included d'Abo in the audition for playing Kara, which she later passed. In 2002, d'Abo co-wrote the book Bond Girls Are Forever, a tribute to the women who have played the role of a Bond Girl. The book formed the basis for a documentary, featuring d'Abo and other famed Bond girls, including Ursula Andress. The documentary appeared on the American AMC network in 2002, timed to coincide with the theatrical release of Die Another Day. It was later included as a gift with the purchase of Die Another Day on DVD by some retailers. In 2006, a new version of the documentary, updated to include interviews with cast from Casino Royale (2006) was again aired on the AMC network and later released as a bonus feature on the March 2007 Blu-ray Disc and DVD release.

In 2007, d'Abo had surgery for a brain hemorrhage from which she recovered. It inspired her to meet other people who had similar experiences and in 2009, she worked on a documentary on this topic. If you remembered seeing Maryam on the popular TV series The Wonder Years, you would be wrong. Maryam is the look-a-like first cousin once removed of Olivia Jane d'Abo, the English-American actress and singer-songwriter, best known for portraying the rebellious teenage sister Karen Arnold in The Wonder Years and later the recurring villain Nicole Wallace in Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Originally, the KGB general set up by Koskov was to be General Gogol; however, Walter Gotell was too sick to handle the major role, and the character of Leonid Pushkin replaced Gogol, who appears briefly at the end of the film, having transferred to the Soviet diplomatic service. This was Gogol's final appearance in a James Bond film. Morten Harket, the lead vocalist of the rock group A-ha (which performed the film's title song), was offered a small role as a villain's henchman in the film, but declined, because of lack of time and because he felt they wanted to cast him due to his popularity rather than his acting.

Director John Glen decided to include the macaw from For Your Eyes Only. It was seen chirping in the kitchen of Blayden House when Necros attacks MI6's officers.

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The film was shot at Pinewood Studios at its 007 Stage in UK, as well as Weissensee in Austria. The pre-title sequence was filmed on the Rock of Gibraltar and although the sequence shows a hijacked Land Rover careering down various sections of road for several minutes before bursting through a wall towards the sea, the location mostly used the same short stretch of road at the very top of the Rock, shot from numerous different angles. The beach defences seen at the foot of the Rock in the initial shot were also added solely for the film, to an otherwise non-military area. The action involving the Land Rover switched from Gibraltar to Beachy Head in the UK for the shot showing the vehicle actually getting airborne. Trial runs of the stunt with the Land Rover, during which Bond escapes by parachute from the tumbling vehicle, were filmed in the Mojave Desert, although the final cut of the film uses a shot achieved using a dummy. Other locations included Germany, the United States, and Italy. The desert scenes were done in Ouarzazate, Morocco. The conclusion of the film included the Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna and Elveden Hall, Suffolk (below).

Principal photography commenced at Gibraltar on September 17th 1986. Aerial stuntmen B.J. Worth and Jake Lombard performed the pre-credits parachute jump. Both the terrain and wind were unfavourable. Consideration was given to the stunt being done using cranes but aerial stunts arranger B.J. Worth stuck to skydiving and completed the scenes in a day. The aircraft used for the jump was a C-130 Hercules, which in the film had M's office installed in the aircraft cabin. The initial point of view for the scene shows M in what appears to be his usual London office, but the camera then zooms out to reveal that it is, in fact, inside an aircraft. Although marked as a Royal Air Force aircraft, the one in shot belonged to the Spanish Air Force and was used again later in the film for the Afghanistan sequences this time in "Russian" markings. During this later chapter, a fight breaks out on the open ramp of the aircraft in flight between Bond and Necros, before Necros falls to his death. Although the plot and preceding shots suggest the aircraft is a C-130, the shot of Necros falling away from the aircraft show a twin engine cargo plane, a C-123 Provider. Worth and Lombard also doubled for Bond and Necros in the scenes where they are hanging on a bag in a plane's open cargo door.

The press would not meet Dalton and d'Abo until October 5th 1986, when the main unit travelled to Vienna. Almost two weeks after the second unit filming on Gibraltar, the first unit started shooting with Andreas Wisniewski and stunt man Bill Weston. During the course of the three days it took to film this fight, Weston fractured a finger and Wisniewski knocked him out once. The next day found the crew on location at Stonor House, doubling for Bladen's Safe House, the first scene Jeroen Krabbé filmed.

The film reunites Bond with British car maker Aston Martin. Following Bond's use of the Aston Martin DBS in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the filmmakers then turned to the brand new Lotus Esprit in 1977s The Spy Who Loved Me, which reappeared four years later in For Your Eyes Only. Despite the iconic status of the submersible Lotus however, Bond's Aston Martin DB5 is recognised as the most famous of his vehicles. As a consequence, Aston Martin returned with their V8 Vantage.

Two different Aston Martin models were used in filming, a V8 Volante convertible, and later for the Czechoslovakia scenes, a hard-top non-Volante V8 saloon badged to look like the Volante. The Volante was a production model owned by Aston Martin Lagonda chairman, Victor Gauntlett.

The Living Daylights was the final Bond film to be scored by composer John Barry. The soundtrack is notable for its introduction of sequenced electronic rhythm tracks overdubbed with the orchestra, at the time, a relatively new innovation.

The title song of the film, "The Living Daylights", was co-written with Paul Waaktaar-Savoy of the Norwegian pop-music group A-ha and recorded by them. The group and Barry did not collaborate well, resulting in two versions of the theme song. Barry's film mix is heard on the soundtrack (and on A-ha's later greatest hits album Headlines and Deadlines). The version preferred by the band can be heard on the 1988 A-ha album Stay on These Roads. However, in 2006 Pal Waaktaar-Savoy complimented Barry's contributions "I loved the stuff he added to the track, I mean it gave it this really cool string arrangement. That's when for me it started to sound like a Bond thing". The title song is one of the few 007 title songs that is not performed or written by a British or American performer.

In a departure from previous Bond films, The Living Daylights was the first to use different songs over the opening and end credits. The song heard over the end credits, "If There Was A Man", was one of two songs performed for the film by Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. The other song, "Where Has Everybody Gone", is heard from Necros's Walkman in the film. The Pretenders were originally considered to perform Daylights' title song. However, the producers had been pleased with the commercial success of Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill", and felt that A-ha would be more likely to make an impact in the charts.

The original soundtrack release was released on LP and CD by Warner Bros. and featured only 12 tracks. Later re-releases by Rykodisc and EMI added nine additional tracks, including alternate instrumental end credits music. Rykodisc's version included the gunbarrel and opening sequence of the film as well as the jailbreak sequence, and the bombing of the bridge. Additionally, the film featured a number of pieces of classical music, as the main Bond girl, Kara Milovy, is a cellist.

The Prince and Princess of Wales attended the film's premiere on June 27th 1987 at the Odeon Leicester Square in London. The Living Daylights grossed the equivalent of $191.2 million worldwide. In the United States it earned $51,185,000, including an opening weekend of $11,051,284, surpassing the $5 million grossed by The Lost Boys that was released on the same day.

In the film, Koskov and Whitaker repeatedly use vehicles and drug packets marked with the Red Cross. This action angered a number of Red Cross Societies, which sent letters of protest regarding the film. In addition, the British Red Cross attempted to prosecute the filmmakers and distributors. However, no legal action was taken. As a result, a disclaimer was added at the start of the film and some DVD releases.

IGN lauded The Living Daylights for bringing back realism and espionage to the franchise and showing James Bond's dark side. Many, including John J. Puccio and Chuck O'Leary, praised Timothy Dalton's performance and his performing most of the stunts himself. The Washington Post even said Dalton developed "the best Bond ever." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times criticised the lack of humour in the protagonist, however, while Jay Scott of The Globe and Mail wrote of Dalton's Bond that "you get the feeling that on his off nights, he might curl up with the Reader's Digest and catch an episode of Moonlighting".

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